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City of Toronto’s “Make Room for Cyclists” campaign Effective – in this rider’s Opinion

It’s a purely subjective thing, but it’s also counter intuitive – which seems to lend these observations some credence. A negative proof I know – but bear with me, it’s good news – which means I can spout unscientific feel-good drivel.

Since the election of the more-room-for-cars Mayor, Rob Ford, I’ve noticed that drivers are going out of their way to make room for me on my bike. It’s like they’re saying with their actions that they’ve seen the City of Toronto Sharrows Video (below) and understood it’s accompanying message:  “Make Room for Cyclists”. And perhaps further – that they don’t agree that pedestrians and cyclists who die in traffic deserve their lot – and that they’re going to show it with the only vote they have left, in the way they drive.

(From the City of Toronto Youtube Channel - Cycling Playlist Page)

I’m noticing people taking extra care at corners; they’re not racing ahead so they can stop in my lane and they wait for cross traffic to clear so they can make their turn – forcing me to make a dangerous lane change. I’m seeing people noticing that I’m following ALL the traffic rules and encouraging my social road use with the same respect in return.

Of coarse this is completely subjective as I said above. My experience of late has been good, and better than I had feared (vigilante SUV road warriors gunning for tree hugging two wheelers in the brave new era of  ‘Tax Payer Respect!!’).

That said, chugging up Kingston Road yesterday, just east of Main, an elderly couple  ahead were stopped – half in the parking lane and half in the metre and a half we all use as a bike lane when there isn’t one. I’m a really good cyclist, I ride defensively; so when I saw what was coming I read the worst case scenario. There was a foot of concrete for me to ride on between the car and the dotted line – but that didn’t matter to me – what if a door opened? What if they pulled out into traffic with out looking? I would be door prized or forced out into fast traffic. I immediately looked behind me and changed lanes. And good thing I did as the driver, with out signaling and with out looking over his shoulder pulled out into the fast lane with me on his rear quarter! I had to break but I was never in any danger – because of my lane change. He blithely swerves out into the traffic lane, moves up four parking spots to one closer to the door of the retirement Lodge – with out ever seeing me! Or hearing my loud-as-I-could HEY!!!

As his passenger got out at their new, better stopping spot I politely asked her to inform her driver that he had just cut me off. She leaned back into the car to do that and off I went; chugging up my hill – my faith in humanity a little bit tainted, but still intact.

Happy Holiday’s Everyone. And in the spirit of the season – it’s better for everyone if we all make room for each other.



Posted: December 4th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized | 4 Comments »